Satan and his sly affair

My greatest enemy… is myself.

One may say Satan is our greatest enemy, but really, (most of us) have free will to do what we want. We can *personally* choose to listen to Satan, to worldly desires… to that voice inside our heads that is tainted by “the Fall” (of mankind via Adam and Eve). That tainted voice tells us that it is OK to do something that we know is bad for us or others. Conversely, we can  *personally* choose to listen to God, and to live our lives pointed towards Heaven. It is our choice. We are responsible for saying yes to the voice of the Enemy, consequently becoming our own enemies– or for saying yes to Christ Our King.

Am I listening to God? Moreover, am I DOING something about what I hear: am I clinging to His every word?

In Matthew 4:4, Jesus tells Satan: “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Am I listening to Satan, who in subtle AND not-so-subtle ways tempts me, daily? I am but a fool if I fail to see how hard Satan is working to gain my soul. Bit by bit, day by day, little by little… it’s a sly affair. 

Even the greatest of saints were tempted. In big ways AND in little ways. All the time. Tempted to make choices that would lead them to be less alive… less alive in Christ.

I am a saint in the making, and I need to be aware. That’s step one. Step two? To take courage! To pick up my cross and to follow JESUS: the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).

It is Christ Our Lord’s grace that helps me to flee temptation and to fly towards Heaven!

As Saint Josemaria put it:

“Don’t forget, my son, that for you on earth there is but one evil, which you must fear and avoid with the grace of God: sin.” The Way, 386

Some youth chillin' with Papa Francesco and taking a "selfie." May God bless them on their quest for HOLINESS... holiness: striving to turn from sin and to run towards Jesus... by listening to Him and living a life built around His word!

Youth chillin’ with Papa Francesco. Hopefully, they left this inspiring pope with a thirst for holiness: to turn from sin, run towards Jesus, and live in Him by clinging to His every word!

Culture of Life vs. Culture of Death

Evening Prayer (“Magnificat” version) this evening included James 1:15: “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.”

This reminded me of Blessed John Paul II’s term, “culture of death,” which includes sins of concupiscence / the flesh.

Such sins in particular destroy the human individual, marriages, families, and society at large. Via unchastity, the using and abuse of others, inordinate and excessive emphasis on worldly pleasures, a plethora of addictions (drugs, alcohol, pornography, masturbation), self-deprecation and mutilation, hatred, murder… the list goes on… the human soul no longer teems with life, but is blackened by death.

Even when it might “feel good” at first, the soul is slowly… being killed… dying. One day, it’s dead. It’s over.

And like James 1:15 says, it all starts in small, subtle ways. Very lovely-seeming ways. Our inordinate desires can deceive us. Satan uses them to steer us off course from the Giver of LIFE… from a Culture of LIFE.

But you know what is so beautiful?

Jesus Christ has already won the battle! By His Passion and His Resurrection.

Jesus assures us: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:10-11).

The question is: will I let Him conquer my heart?

O, if I but let the thorns of his crown pierce my hardened heart… it will become flesh again. It will become alive again.

I must think this over and over in Lent! How can I continually let Him give me life as He is wanting? More and more abundantly?

As Jesus said “no” three times to Satan, who was tempting Him in the desert (when He was famished from fasting), I too can say “no” to Satan.

I have nothing to fear! Only my mediocrity, my own lack of courage.

By saying no to my (inordinate) desires this Lent (with which Satan so subtly plays), I can let the Culture of LIFE triumph in this battle in the world of LIFE vs. death.

LIFE will win. Christ Jesus assures me of that!

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I would be straight up lying…

…If I were tell you that being a saint in the making is easy.

…If I were to tell you that being 20-something, that being young and in a world that screams, “WEALTH! PLEASURE! POWER! HONOR!” (as Fr. Robert Barron says) was easy.

…If I were to tell you that trying to: embrace a life of virtue, work to my full capacity as God’s handmaiden, overcome daily insecurities and anxieties, be chaste with my boyfriend, be patient with my family members, trust the LORD with all my heart, and smile through the trials in life… was a simple walk in the park.

These are all challenges for me. Yet this is why God has given me grace. God’s grace makes us holy; yes, it sanctifies us. But grace comes at a cost. We don’t earn it, but we have to say YES to it. That is the cost. Are we willing to let grace work in us?

Jesus requires change. He requires discipline. He requires sacrifice. And He accomplishes it through grace.

Does grace always simply float into you, like a nice breeze? No. Sometimes, grace cuts into you, strikes you like a bolt of lightning, shakes you up and to the core.

But even in the latter, we have to remember: ALL the time, grace will pulse straight to the heart, and do it Eternal Goodness, not eternal harm.

Living in the world and OF the world– following it, just doing “whatever”: now that harms your soul.

But living in the world and NOT of the world, with Christ within you, with GRACE in your soul– either in a calm way, or in that aforementioned crazy-making way: now THAT leads you to eternal joy.

So why settle for excitement that fades, for the promises from our world that will always be broken?

I am set for a greatness that will last. I am bound to a God who will keep His promises, even after the darkest of hours.

His Light WILL shine! His Kingdom WILL prevail! And how blinding, how radiant, how glorious it is!

I am a twenty-something in this world, and it’s incredibly hard not to listen to it sometimes. It’s incredibly hard not to listen to my own weakened nature sometimes. But I have grace: I have Christ within me!

I am a saint in the making, and I am nothing less.

…Now, THAT is the truth.

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